Going into college, if you had asked me, I had everything figured out. I was high achieving, well-liked, and I knew exactly what was ahead.
Then came sophomore year and things began to crumble. I began to struggle with friendships, extra curricular activities, and academics. It was the first whispering of what would become a recurring depression.
At the core, I began to struggle with my identity. I did not know who I was if I was not living up to the perfection I required of myself. I had done everything right, so I did not understand how God had allowed the fall I was experiencing. Slowly, I realized it was because I had left God out.
In my sin and arrogance, I felt like I worked hard and earned what I had, mostly without God. Grace was a warm and fuzzy concept but not concrete because I hadn’t recognized my desperate need of it. I had yet to come face to face with my Father. I certainly felt like I was in a pit!
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:1-3b
These verses prompted me to dive deeper into Psalm 40, which has become my lifeline.
“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud.” (v.4)
I was “the proud”. I had not put my trust in the Lord.
“For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.” (v.12)
As I reflected on this, despair began to overtake me yet again. I felt exactly like David, the man who had written this psalm thousands of years ago. “I have failed. I am not good enough to be called His child.” I floundered until I found my new song in the same psalm:
“In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.’” (vss.6-7)
This is grace. God did not require anything of me. He has provided the way to himself through Jesus and I simply needed to be with Him. I did not need to achieve to earn His love. I did not need to do. I needed to sit before His throne and be with Him. I needed to love Him.
Nearly ten years later, I wish I could say I had this lesson perfected. It has remained a cycle of continual growth and stretching. But each time, surrendering my brokenness to His grace, I take comfort in the Psalm’s last words:
“As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought of me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (v.17)